Gambia Golf Association affiliated to The R&A
The Gambia Golf Association has become the 127th country to become affiliated to The R&A. Affiliation was granted early in December, capping-off a period of 15 months in which major strides have been taken to establish golf's future in the country of 1.7 million people.
Formed in 2009, the Gambia Golf Association (GGA) is the sport’s governing body in the west-African nation, overseen by the National Sports Council of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Throughout the year, the GGA have made significant progress in the development of the game in the Gambia, with the first sponsored competition taking place last December and the first Annual General Meeting being held in May 2010. Affiliation to the Gambia National Olympic Committee came shortly afterwards.
Under the patronage of the Gambia’s President, Yahya Jammeh, the GGA also sanction the Gambia Open, currently being staged at the 18-hole, par-69 Fajara Golf Course (8-13 December). More than 50 foreign professional golfers and amateurs from Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, the UK and Sweden, as well as another 50 from the Gambia, are participating in the championship, which also features a Pro-Am tournament running alongside the main event.
Also in December, the Ukraine Golf Federation became the 128th national governing body affiliated to The R&A, taking the number of new affiliates this year to five; the others being the Oceania Golf Union, the Falkland Islands Golf Association and the Afghanistan Golf Federation.
“We are delighted to welcome the Gambia Golf Association and the Ukraine Golf Federation as our newest affiliates,” said Director – Rules of Golf Grant Moir. “The R&A exists to serve our affiliates, working for golf on their behalf and with their consent, and we hope that affiliation to The R&A will help our newest partners to continue their good work developing golf in their home nations.”
Afghanistan recently competed in the golf event at the Asian Games for the first time, a notable achievement for a country with only one nine-hole course in Kabul, 100 registered Federation members, and two teaching professionals. While the sport was introduced to the country more than 40 years ago, it is only since 2004 that the public have been allowed to play.
The R&A has national affiliated organisations in 128 countries in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, and a further 13 transnational affiliated organisations.
Through The R&A’s quadrennial Working for Golf Conference, which, in 2009, welcomed representatives of the men’s and women’s game from over 60 countries to St Andrews, our affiliates are frequently consulted on the game’s current issues, shaping policy as golf moves forward further into the 21st Century.
The R&A’s Rules and Referees schools endeavour to make it possible for members of affiliated unions to develop their Rules knowledge without the expense of, in some cases, long flights to Scotland. Since 2000, over 50 schools have been staged in more than 30 countries. In turn, the knowledge that is passed on at these schools will be disseminated by national officials at schools of their own.